How to Get Onion Smell Out of Cutting Board

Updated On: April 18, 2021

Onion odor is one of the stinkiest smells that you would want to stay in your cutting board. A simple rinse in tap water isn’t enough for the smell to leave. So, what to do?

There are some ideas you can follow to avoid contaminating your cutting board with an onion smell, and even if you do, there are some ways to get rid of it. We’ll talk about some of them in this write-up.

How to Get Onion Smell Out of Cutting Board

Getting the smell of onion and other smelly vegetables like garlic out of a cutting board is easy. Depending on the cutting board type, the process for each will vary. Let’s talk about how you can get the smell of onion out of your cutting board –

For Wooden or Bamboo Boards

Sadly, there’s no option to soak your wooden board in the sink or throw it in the dishwasher for a thorough wash. High water pressure will damage the wood tempering and will destroy the chemical coating of a bamboo cutting board. So, you have to go for another option.

For fresh onion smells; if you’ve just cut onions on your cutting board, give it a tap water wash afterward. Fresh smells are easy to get rid of, and regular tap water is enough to get the stinky smell out of a wooden board.

But if the smell is strong – possibly because of being left to dry after cutting onions on it or not washing the board for a sustained period, it might need a thorough wash.

Next Read: How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board

You shouldn’t use commercial cleaners or harsh detergents. Wooden and bamboo boards are porous – meaning they have lots of microscopic holes on the surface, and the chemicals can get stuck inside. When they do, they will contaminate other foods cut on the board.

Bleach is a good cleaner, but like commercial soaps, it is also made up of harmful chemical substances and isn’t good or safe for consumption. The best alternative here is a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. It has a similar strength to bleach but without harmful effects.

To start, soak your board in warm water for a few minutes. 5-10 minutes soak is enough to soften the chemical bonds.

Now, mix vinegar and baking soda in a bowl and create a foamy mixture. Apply the mixture on the board and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub the board well with a scrubber.

If the smell remains, repeat the process again. Baking soda and vinegar create a strong, acidic bond that can remove not only the foul smells but also ugly stain marks off the wooden cutting board.

For Plastic or Marble Boards

One of the major reasons some people don’t choose wooden boards is they’re a hassle to clean. Plastic and marble-based cutting boards don’t have a porous surface, nor they have problems with water exposure.

You don’t need any fancy cleaning method to get your plastic board rid itself off of the bad smells from cutting onions on it. A hot dishwasher clean or a soak in the sink after every use is enough to keep it free from foul smells.

If you like to use bleach on a plastic board, you can. And there won’t be a health risk like it would’ve been with a wooden one. Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda is also effective. You should choose whatever works best for you.


The tips mentioned in this guide can help you with removing bad odor from your cutting board. The best idea would be not to cut onion, or even worse – garlic, on your cutting board to keep the board free from pungent smells, if possible.

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